Pensioner, 90, accused of trying to stab to death ill wife in her sleep in Orpington

·2-min read
Edward Turpin denies murder (PA)
Edward Turpin denies murder (PA)

A 90-year-old pensioner tried to murder his ill wife in her sleep after he “ran out of patience” with caring for her, a court has heard.

Edward Turpin is accused of attempting to stab to death Joan Turpin, also 90, at their home in Orpington, southeast London, after years of happy marriage.

The Old Bailey heard Mrs Turpin had lost her eyesight, relied on a catheter, and had become increasingly dependent on her husband prior to the alleged attack on September 22 last year.

In a 999 call, Turpin told the operator: “I can’t take any more of it… She’s been ill and it’s got right on top of me.

“I tried to stab her and I’ve stabbed myself.”

Asked where Mrs Turpin was injured, the defendant said, “by her heart,” jurors heard.

Turpin had turned the knife on himself after stabbing his wife, the court was told, and when told by the operator how to help his wife he replied: “No I don’t want to stop the bleeding. We want to die.”

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson said: “In the early hours of September 22 last year, the defendant, Edward Turpin, tried to stab his wife, Joan, to death, whilst she slept.

“They had been happily married for years but Joan Turpin’s health had declined and she had lost her sight. The defendant was her carer, but by September 22 he could no longer cope. Instead of seeking help, his patience gone, he sought to kill her.”

The prosecutor said Turpin appeared to “give the impression” on the 999 call that “he and his wife were participating in a suicide pact”.

“As you will hear, that is a suggestion that Joan Turpin robustly rejects,” he said.

“Throughout the call, in the background, you can hear Joan Turpin crying out for help.

“The defendant hung up the telephone. The operator telephoned back. The defendant answered angrily ‘what?’. He went on to explain that ‘she’s been ill, she’s come home, all she’s done is got on my nerves… I’ve just burst. I’ve just gone’.

“Shortly afterwards, the operator called back and they spoke again. Once again, the defendant says ‘I don’t want nothing done now. I want to die. She wants to die’.

“And once again, you will hear Joan Turpin in the background crying out for help.”

Mr Richardson added that Mrs Turpin will give evidence in the trial of their “happy marriage” and Turpin as a “good husband”, adding: “It makes the case and events that you will consider all the more sad.”

Turpin denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding with intent.

The pensioner is sat in the well of the court for the trial, rather than in the traditional defendant’s seat in the dock, and is wearing headphones to help him hear proceedings.

The trial continues.